Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law
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Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law

Vol 1: Theory Vol 2: Analytical Methods

Edited by Ben Depoorter, Peter Menell and David Schwartz

Both law and economics and intellectual property law have expanded dramatically in tandem over recent decades. This field-defining two-volume Handbook, featuring the leading legal, empirical, and law and economics scholars studying intellectual property rights, provides wide-ranging and in-depth analysis both of the economic theory underpinning intellectual property law, and the use of analytical methods to study it.
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Chapter 4: Philosophical foundations of IP law: the law and economics paradigm

Robert P. Merges

Abstract

This chapter describes various philosophical perspectives on the law and economics paradigm in intellectual property (IP). It begins with a description of utilitarianism, which is the philosophical foundation on which law and economics is built. It then describes an alternative way that law and economics can be understood: as a highly effective set of tools that are useful even if one is not convinced that IP law can be justified at the foundational level by a utilitarian account. Various alternatives to foundational utilitarianism are described; the chapter seeks to explain how a law and economics approach to issues in the IP field is consistent with these alternative foundational justifications for IP law.

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